Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Arundel the next stop on Surrey's victory hunt

Surrey’s 2013 Championship campaign reaches the half way mark this week as they visit Arundel to play Division One pace-setters Sussex. Chris Adams' troops are still searching for a first Championship win of the season.
A 13 man squad has been named and a possible XI is as follows:
Rory Burns
Arun Harinath
Vikram Solanki
Ricky Ponting
Zander de Bruyn
Steven Davies
Gary Wilson
Zafar Ansari
Jon Lewis
Chris Tremlett
Jade Dernbach
12th men: Tim Linley, Gary Keedy
The return of Zafar Ansari to the four day game is most welcome. He didn't have a great time of it opening the batting last season but his talent is unquestionable. He does provide something of a selection conundrum though. Gary Keedy had another barren game at Guildford, taking a wicket with his fifth ball and absolutely nothing else with the other 247. But is it too much to expect Ansari to shoulder the spinning burden? Possibly, but Arundel has favoured the seamers in the past two seasons with 54 of the 68 wickets falling to the quicker men. Adams may reason that with seam bowling likely to do the bulk of the damage, only limited spin will be required. 
I am disappointed that with Stuart Meaker suffering an ongoing knee injury that the opportunity was not taken to name one of Edwards or Dunn in the squad. Jon Lewis is a seasoned pro who is unlikely to let the side down (except in bowling no balls), but Dunn and Edwards are the future.
The final XI is quite a tricky one to predict. Adams knows we are desperate for a win, and may need one to save his bacon, but he can't attack too much for fear of the batting collapsing in a heap again. We are due a game when more than one bowler at a time performs, thus far frequently one individual has had to shoulder too much of the wicket taking burden. If we can just get Dernbach and Tremlett on song together for more than a few overs we can prevail even against the table toppers.
Sussex have had a fine start to their season, winning three and losing none of their first seven games. They can count again on the presence of Matt Prior, who scored a 45 ball 62 at the Oval, to bolster their alreay formidable batting. Luke Wells will be looking to inflate his already enormous average (118) against Surrey and Luke Wright comes into this game off the back of a career best 187 to save the game against Middlesex last week. Rory Hamilton-Brown won't be playing though, he's been dropped after averaging just 28 in his first six matches back at Sussex. Their bowling is strong too, Steve Magoffin and Chris Jordan sit atop the list of Division One wicket takers, while James Anyon backs them up and one of Will Beer or Monty Panesar will take spinning duties.
To make it to the half way mark in the season without a win would be desperately disappointing. We are capable of beating teams like Sussex but only if we are the sum of our parts (or better still more than the sum!) and so far this season we haven't been. Arundel has seen results in both of the last two years, although Wednesday's dreadful forecast might put paid to any hope of one this year. We might be able to beat Sussex over four days, but three would probably be too much to ask.
At Guildford the top order batting prospered, albeit on a flat track. Harinath and Burns are developing into two sensible, responsible and quality performers, Ponting's enduring class is not in doubt and we welcome back Steven Davies from injury. As ever with Surrey we have a side on paper that is capable of big wins. Whether that is delivered in practice remains to be seen, but its about time it was.


Anonymous said...

The way our season has gone, I am not sure we are capable of beating anyone, let alone league leaders Sussex. How long do we go on before Adams is given the boot?

GreenJJ said...

Well I think such uncertainty is warranted at the moment, hard to see where a win is coming from. I think the time has come for us to look for a new route and that means a new director of cricket, or whatever Adams' title is. Goodness knows if/when it'll actually happen, we seem content to just bump from one poor performance to the next at the moment.